• Novo Layout em teste: Coisas Internacionais Análises, Elucubrações e Noticias sobre Relações Internacionais, Religião e Política
  • "24 horas por dia... Lendo, refletindo, pensando, o Brasil e o mundo." (Paulo Roberto de Almeida)
  • Vote Coisas Internacionais no TOPBLOGS 2011. Basta clicar no selo do concurso

Brasil e Venezuela: E um conselho inesperado

brasilVenezuelaNas minhas leituras diárias me deparei com uma reportagem interessante da Revista Político, que fala sobre um conselho do bilionário Warren Buffett a Sen. Elizabeth Warren, democrata que é umas das principais vozes por uma taxação mais dura dos investidores e banqueiros de Wall Street, no tom moralista que vem tomando conta desse debate em todo canto do mundo. Buffett sugere a senadora Warren que seja “menos indignada” em sua retórica e até mesmo menos raivosa e se preocupe em alcançar algo que mesmo que não seja o ideal, seja superior ao estado atual das coisas.

Buffett não está sendo inovador na sugestão que manter o tom mais ameno, oferece aos adversários políticos a chance de chegar aos mínimos demoninadores comuns (pra roubar uma expressão da matemática), essa fala é uma defesa do pragmatismo e não do cinismo como pode parecer. Não é abrir mão dos ideais, mas aceitar que nem sempre é possível se implementar reformas profundas unilateralmente, a menos é claro, que não se tenha a democracia como horizonte de ação.

Claro, para agir assim o político precisa ter cabeça fria diante de uma eventual queda de popularidade e uma capacidade boa de comunicação de seus ideais e explicar a sua base, que essa vitória possível é bem melhor que a inação.

O conselho de Buffett, embora tenha um contexto claro (debate sobre a reforma fiscal dos EUA) pode ser transplantado para outra esfera de ação, que são as relações internacionais no espaço sul-americano, mas precisamente sobre a prolongada e grave crise política e econômica da Venezuela.

Aliás, sobre isso hoje os professores e pesquisadores João Augusto de Castro Neves, Oliver Stuenkel e Matias Spektor publicaram, na Folha de São Paulo, um sóbrio ensaio sobre a ação brasileira no caso venezuelano (vale a leitura), os professores estão em linha com o que venho escrevendo sobre o assunto, em essência o Brasil tem interesses demais na Venezuela para não agir, e que a resposta brasileira não pode ser calcada na ideologia do partido do poder que é claramente simpático ao bolivarianismo.

Há um pouco mais de um ano escrevi aqui mesmo nesse blog:

“[...]É sempre difícil pros decisores políticos separar seus interesses de governo (partidário-eleitorais) dos interesses de Estado (de longo prazo e supostamente suprapartidários) principalmente quando a simpatia e antipatia ideológica são tão aparentes como no atual partido no poder no Brasil. Só a simpatia ideológica explica por que o Brasil é neutro diante das FARC que tentam derrubar um regime para impor uma ditadura socialista e na busca desse propósito traficam drogas que inundam as ruas brasileiras e armas ilegais que nos matam e é agora completamente defensor do regime bolivariano que enfrenta ampla contestação de uma fatia significativa da população da Venezuela.

Sobre a Venezuela é preciso resistir a vontade de demonizar os lados em disputa. É verdade que Maduro foi democraticamente eleito, ainda que pipoquem denuncias de fraudes eleitorais, mas também é verdade que sua eleição transformada pelos marketeiros brasileiros em referendo sobre o Chável, recém-falecido (o que é claro tem forte carga emocional) foi bem apertada com cerca de 200 mil votos de diferença.

[...]Pode um líder ser tão vacilante? Cabeças devem estar fervendo no belo palácio dos arcos atormentadas por essas questões, como diria o Barão do Rio Branco, Política Externa é projetar uma certa imagem de Brasil e nesse caso é uma parcial a favor de regimes de mesma matiz ideológica e vacilante quanto a própria capacidade de intermediar crises regionais. É esse um quadro acurado?”

Os autores apresentam um roteiro prático de ações que deveriam estar a ser tomadas pelo Brasil em âmbito bilateral buscando apoio de Cuba e dos EUA, e algum alivio financeiro no âmbito do BRICS dado o interesse econômico russo e chinês na Venezuela. Eu incluiria, hoje, a Santa Sé, seus bons ofícios e o carisma do Papa Francisco podem ser um asset importante para uma saída pacífica e, sobretudo democrática dessa crise.

E antes que o jovem leitor desse texto fique indignado e pergunte, mas agir não é interferir na soberania e autodeterminação da Venezuela?

Eu poderia, facilmente, citar inúmeros compromissos internacionais e exemplos que respaldam a atitude de buscar uma solução pra crise ou até o motivo mais auto-interessado de evitar uma guerra civil nas nossas fronteiras, mas aqui vou copiar a resposta a essa questão que os professores deram no artigo supracitado: Não se trata de violar a soberania venezuelana, e nenhum ator venezuelano obterá tudo o que quer, claro, para não alimentar a polarização. Se o governo brasileiro quiser, terá condições de liderar uma alternativa aceitável para todos.” [Grifo nosso]

O assassinato de Kluiver Roa, de 14 anos, durante um dos muitos protestos precipitados pela prisão do prefeito de Caracas, mais um jovem morto nesse conflito aumentou o sentido de urgência do debate da crise venezuelana na sociedade brasileira e chegou ao congresso e os ânimos tem se acirrado e os lados se inflamam em curiosos adjetivos e numa recusa dos defensores de Maduro de aceitar a verdade e num momento como esse o conselho de Buffett vem bem a calhar, menos retórica e mais trabalho para alcançar objetivos concretos. Haverá disposição pra isso?

Read More

Reunião de Minsk: O latido de um sabujo

UKRAINE-CRISIS/Hoje, em Minsk, os mandatários de Rússia, Ucrânia, Alemanha e França se reuniram para tratar do conflito na Ucrânia. O tema é complexo e o cenário não é fácil de desenhar, mas essa breve nota em nada tem a ver com análises dos cálculos políticos dos líderes e sim como o conflito se enraizou entre os cidadãos e membros da imprensa, chegando ao ponto de um jornalista russo, entusiasta de seu governo (será um efeito de alguma regulação da mídia?!) decidiu latir, isso mesmo, latir na face de jornalistas ucranianos.

Veja o vídeo:

Se o código não funcionar tente esse link.

Meu amigo e diplomata e autor de grande produção intelectual, Paulo Roberto de Almeida costuma chamar os áulicos, àqueles que se submetem a servidão (intelectual, inclusive) voluntária de sabujos, nunca esteve tão certo quanto no caso desse jornalista Alexander Yunashev que trabalha para a LifeNews, imagino que deve ser bem imparcial em sua cobertura, não?

PS: Minha tentativa de incorporar o vídeo não foi bem sucedida, se alguém quiser me ensinar nos comentários como incorporar vídeos do Facebook, eu agradeço. :)

Leia Mais

O ressurgimento da Alemanha

merkelJá escrevi aqui sobre a crise da Ucrânia do ponto de vista da percepção de necessidade de segurança dos Russos, alimentados pela ideologia eurasiana. Foi esse antigo imperativo de segurança dos Russos que motivou a ocupação e posterior divisão da Alemanha, posto que há duas grandes forças em ação. a dos russos querendo empurrar sua zona de influência cada vez mais a oeste e das potências continentais européias tentando empurrar sua influência mais a leste possível.Hoje, George Friedman escreve sobre os dilemas da Alemanha, diante das lições de sua história e das realidades na Ucrânia e na Grécia e como a crise européia colocou esse país numa posição central que lhe é desconfortável. Reproduzo abaixo, com autorização do autor.

Germany Emerges

By George Friedman

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece and Ukraine are not linked in the American mind. They are linked in the German mind, because both are indicators of Germany's new role in the world and of Germany's discomfort with it.

It is interesting to consider how far Germany has come in a rather short time. When Merkel took office in 2005, she became chancellor of a Germany that was at peace, in a European Union that was united. Germany had put its demands behind it, embedding itself in a Europe where it could be both prosperous and free of the geopolitical burdens that had led it into such dark places. If not the memory, then the fear of Germany had subsided in Europe. The Soviet Union was gone, and Russia was in the process of trying to recover from the worst consequences of that collapse. The primary issue in the European Union was what hurdles nations, clamoring to enter the union, would have to overcome in order to become members. Germany was in a rare position, given its history. It was in a place of comfort, safety and international collegiality.

The world that Merkel faces today is startlingly different. The European Union is in a deep crisis. Many blame Germany for that crisis, arguing that its aggressive export policies and demands for austerity were self-serving and planted the seeds of the crisis. It is charged with having used the euro to serve its interests and with shaping EU policy to protect its own corporations. The vision of a benign Germany has evaporated in much of Europe, fairly or unfairly. In many places, old images of Germany have re-emerged, if not in the center of many countries then certainly on the growing margins. In a real if limited way, Germany has become the country that other Europeans fear. Few countries are clamoring for membership in the European Union, and current members have little appetite for expanding the bloc's boundaries.

At the same time, the peace that Germany had craved is in jeopardy. Events in Ukraine have aroused Russian fears of the West, and Russia has annexed Crimea and supported an insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Russia's actions have sparked the United States' fears of the re-emergence of a Russian hegemon, and the United States is discussing arming the Ukrainians and pre-positioning weapons for American troops in the Baltics, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. The Russians are predicting dire consequences, and some U.S. senators are wanting to arm the Ukrainians.

If it is too much to say that Merkel's world is collapsing, it is not too much to say that her world and Germany's have been reshaped in ways that would have been inconceivable in 2005. The confluence of a financial crisis in Europe that has led to dramatic increases in nationalism — both in the way nations act and in the way citizens think — with the threat of war in Ukraine has transformed Germany's world. Germany's goal has been to avoid taking a leading political or military role in Europe. The current situation has made this impossible. The European financial crisis, now seven years old, has long ceased being primarily an economic problem and is now a political one. The Ukrainian crisis places Germany in the extraordinarily uncomfortable position of playing a leading role in keeping a political problem from turning into a military one.

The German Conundrum

It is important to understand the twin problems confronting Germany. On the one hand, Germany is trying to hold the European Union together. On the other, it wants to make certain that Germany will not bear the burden of maintaining that unity. In Ukraine, Germany was an early supporter of the demonstrations that gave rise to the current government. I don't think the Germans expected the Russian or U.S. responses, and they do not want to partake in any military reaction to Russia. At the same time, Germany does not want to back away from support for the government in Ukraine.

There is a common contradiction inherent in German strategy. The Germans do not want to come across as assertive or threatening, yet they are taking positions that are both. In the European crisis, it is Germany that is most rigid not only on the Greek question but also on the general question of Southern Europe and its catastrophic unemployment situation. In Ukraine, Berlin supports Kiev and thus opposes the Russians but does not want to draw any obvious conclusions. The European crisis and the Ukrainian crisis are mirror images. In Europe, Germany is playing a leading but aggressive role. In Ukraine, it is playing a leading but conciliatory role. What is most important is that in both cases, Germany has been forced — more by circumstance than by policy — to play leading roles. This is not comfortable for Germany and certainly not for the rest of Europe.

Germany's Role in Ukraine

The Germans did play a significant part in the fall of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's government. Germany had been instrumental in trying to negotiate an agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, but Yanukovich rejected it. The Germans supported anti-Yanukovich demonstrators and had very close ties to one of the demonstration leaders, current Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who received training in a program for rising leaders sponsored by the Christian Democratic Union — Merkel's party. The Germans condemned the Russian annexation of Crimea and Moscow's support for the Ukrainian secessionists in the east. Germany was not, perhaps, instrumental in these events, but it was a significant player.

As the Germans came to realize that this affair would not simply be political but would take on a military flavor, they began to back away from a major role. But disengagement was difficult. The Germans adopted a complex stance. They opposed the Russians but also did not want to provide direct military support to the Ukrainians. Instead, they participated in the sanctions against Russia while trying to play a conciliatory role. It was difficult for Merkel to play this deeply contradictory role, but given Germany's history the role was not unreasonable. Germany's status as a liberal democracy is central to its post-war self-conception. That is what it must be. Therefore, supporting the demonstrators in Kiev was an obligation. At the same time, Germany — particularly since the end of the Cold War — has been uneasy about playing a direct military role. It did that in Afghanistan but not Iraq. And participating in or supporting a military engagement in Ukraine resurrects memories of events involving Russia that Berlin does not want to confront.

Therefore, Germany adopted a contradictory policy. Although it supported a movement that was ultimately anti-Russian and supported sanctions against the Russians, more than any other power involved it does not want the political situation to evolve into a military one. It will not get involved in any military action in Ukraine, and the last thing Germany needs now is a war to its east. Having been involved in the beginnings of the crisis, and being unable to step away from it, Germany also wants to defuse it.

The Greek Issue

Germany repeated this complex approach with Greece for different reasons. The Germans are trying to find some sort of cover for the role they are playing with the Greeks. Germany exported more than 50 percent of its gross domestic product, and more than half of that went to the European free trade zone that was the heart of the EU project. Germany had developed production that far exceeded its domestic capacity for consumption. It had to have access to markets or face a severe economic crisis of its own.

But barriers are rising in Europe. The attacks in Paris raised demands for the resurrection of border guards and inspections. Alongside threats of militant Islamist attacks, the free flow of labor from country to country threatened to take jobs from natives and give them to outsiders. If borders became barriers to labor, and capital markets were already distorted by the ongoing crisis, then how long would it be before weaker economies used protectionist measures to keep out German goods?

The economic crisis had unleashed nationalism as each country tried to follow policies that would benefit it and in which many citizens — not in power, but powerful nonetheless — saw EU regulations as threats to their well-being. And behind these regulations and the pricing of the euro, they saw Germany's hand.

This was dangerous for Germany in many ways. Germany had struggled to shed its image as an aggressor; here it was re-emerging. Nationalism not only threatened to draw Germany back to its despised past, but it also threatened the free trade essential to Germany's well-being. Germany didn't want anyone to leave the free trade zone. The eurozone was less important, but once they left the currency bloc, the path to protectionism was short. Greece was of little consequence itself, but if it demonstrated that it would be better off defaulting than paying its debt, other countries could follow. And if they demonstrated that leaving the free trade zone was beneficial, then the entire structure might unravel.

Germany needed to make an example of Greece, and it tried very hard last week to be unbending, appearing to be a bit like the old Germany. The problem Germany had was that if the new Greek government wanted to survive, it couldn't capitulate. It had been elected to resist Germany. And whatever the unknowns, it was not clear that default, in whole or part, wasn't beneficial. And in the end, Greece could set its own rules. If the Greeks offered a fraction of repayment, would anyone refuse when the alternative was nothing?

Therefore, Germany was facing one of the other realities of its position — one that goes back to its unification in 1871. Although economically powerful, Germany was also extremely insecure. Its power rested on the ability and willingness of other countries to give Germany access to their markets. Without that access, German power could fall apart. With Greece, the Germans wanted to show the rest of Europe the consequences of default, but if Greece defaulted anyway, the only lesson might be that default works. Just as it had been in the past, Germany was simultaneously overbearing and insecure. In dealing with Greece, the Germans could not risk bringing down the European Union and could not be sure which thread, if pulled on, would unravel it.

Merkel's Case in Washington

It was with this on her mind that Merkel came to Washington. Facing an overwhelming crisis within the European Union, Germany could not afford a war in Ukraine. U.S. threats to arm the Ukrainians were exactly what she did not need. It wasn't just that Germany had a minimal army and couldn't participate or, in extremis, defend itself. It was also that in being tough with Greece, Germany could not go much further before being seen as the strongman of Europe, a role it could not bear.

Thus, she came to Washington looking to soften the American position. But the American position came from deep wells as well. Part of it had to do with human rights, which should not be dismissed as one source of decision-making in this and other administrations. But the deeper well was the fact that for a hundred years, since World War I, through World War II and the Cold War, the United States had a single rigid imperative: No European hegemon could be allowed to dominate the Continent, as a united Europe was the only thing that might threaten national security. Therefore, regardless of any debate on the issue, the U.S. concern about a Russian-dominated Ukraine triggered the primordial fear of a Russian try at hegemony.

It was ironic that Germany, which the United States blocked twice as a hegemon, tried to persuade the United States that increased military action in Ukraine would not solve the problem. The Americans knew that, but they also knew that if they backed off now, the Russians would read it as an opportunity to press forward. Germany, which had helped set in motion both this crisis and the European crisis, was now asking the United States to back off. The request was understandable, but simply backing off was not possible. She needed to deliver something from Putin, such as a pledge to withdraw support to Ukrainian secessionists. But Putin needed something, too: a promise for an autonomous province. By now Merkel could live with that, but the Americans would find it undesirable. An autonomous Ukrainian province would inevitably become a base for undermining the rest of the country.

This is the classic German problem told two ways. Both derive from disproportionate strength overlying genuine weakness. The Germans are trying to reshape Europe, but their threats are of decreasing value. The Germans tried to reshape Ukraine but got trapped in the Russian reaction. In both cases, the problem was that they did not have sufficient power, instead requiring the acquiescence of others. And that is difficult to get. This is the old German problem: The Germans are too strong to be ignored and too weak to impose their will. Historically, the Germans tried to increase their strength so they could impose their will. In this case, they have no intention of doing so. It will be interesting to see whether their will can hold when their strength is insufficient.

"Germany Emerges is republished with permission of Stratfor.
Leia Mais

A punição a Raif Badawi

raif-badawi1_0Ontem escrevi en passant sobre os conflitos internos sobre os rumos das civilizações e sobre as forças de manutenção cultural tendem a se valer de leis draconianas para artificialmente coibir a força natural pela mudança que existe em qualquer agrupamento humano e como a comparação (facilitada pela migração e tecnologia) entre civilizações pode ser uma força importante.

Um exemplo, extremo desse fenômeno é a punição administrada ao blogueiro saudita Raif Badawi, 1.000 chibatadas. Acredito que nem a mais relativista das almas consegue não se escandalizar diante das 1.000 chibatadas.

O The Guardian fez uma boa seleção de citações do blog (hoje encerrado, obviamente) de Badawi destaco algumas, que são analises sobre a realidade de seu país e de sua ‘civilização’.

Sobre liberdade de expressão e inovação:

As soon as a thinker starts to reveal his ideas, you will find hundreds of fatwas that accused him of being an infidel just because he had the courage to discuss some sacred topics. I’m really worried that Arab thinkers will migrate in search of fresh air and to escape the sword of the religious authorities.

Secularismo:

Secularism respects everyone and does not offend anyone ... Secularism ... is the practical solution to lift countries (including ours) out of the third world and into the first world.

e;

I’m not in support of the Israeli occupation of any Arab country, but at the same time I do not want to replace Israel by a religious state ... whose main concern would be spreading the culture of death and ignorance among its people when we need modernisation and hope. States based on religious ideology ... have nothing except the fear of God and an inability to face up to life. Look at what had happened after the European peoples succeeded in removing the clergy from public life and restricting them to their churches. They built up human beings and (promoted) enlightenment, creativity and rebellion. States which are based on religion confine their people in the circle of faith and fear.

Sobre o terrorismo de inspiração islâmico:

What hurts me most as a citizen of the area which exported those terrorists ... is the audacity of Muslims in New York that reaches the limits of insolence, not taking any regard of the thousands of victims who perished on that fateful day or their families. What increases my pain is this [Islamist] chauvinist arrogance which claims that innocent blood, shed by barbarian, brutal minds under the slogan “Allahu Akbar”, means nothing compared to the act of building an Islamic mosque whose mission will be to ... spawn new terrorists ... Suppose we put ourselves in the place of American citizens. Would we accept that a Christian or Jew assaults us in our own house and then build a church or synagogue in the same area of the attack? I doubt it. We reject the building of churches in Saudi Arabia, not having been assaulted by anyone. Then what would you think if those who wanted to build a church are the same people who stormed the sanctity of our land? Finally, we should not hide that fact that Muslims in Saudi Arabia not only disrespect the beliefs of others, but also charge them with infidelity to the extent that they consider anyone who is not Muslim an infidel, and, within their own narrow definitions, they consider non-Hanbali [the Saudi school of Islam] Muslims as apostates. How can we be such people and build ... normal relations with six billion humans, four and a half billion of whom do not believe in Islam.

As mil chibatadas em Badawi são um drama humanitário e uma história tristemente exemplar sobre os conflitos internos nas civilizações e nos lembram uma vez mais como é incompleta a explicação do terrorismo e autoritarismo somente pela luta de civilizações, ou como culpa do imperialismo “ianque” (como gostam de dizer).

Não entendam esse texto como uma apologia de uma pretensa superioridade do ocidente que seria o exemplo máximo, por que no seio do ocidente os mesmos temas estão presente e causam acalorados debates, mas é aí que reside o ponto, não é mesmo? Afinal, é contra um debate amplo com alternativas múltiplas que se insurgem os radicais, claro que dão nomes como ocidentalização e infiéis, por que como sabemos palavras além de sua carga semântica, carregam uma forte carga emocional.

Leia Mais

A luta interna e os deixados pra trás

Uma das primeiras lições que eu tive sobre ciência falava da motivação pra pesquisar, que deveria advir de uma inquietação diante da lacuna da bibliografia sobre certo assunto, ou sobre a insuficiência das explicações encontradas afinal, ninguém faz ciência pra redescobrir a gravidade. Há muito que uma explicação comum para os conflitos atuais me gera um elevado desconforto, que é a idéia que os grandes problemas de segurança atuais (terrorismo e etc.) são originados pelo Choque de Civilizações. Não é que eu minimize os aspectos culturais e civilizacionais, mas é por que essa explicação não absorve tão bem as lutas intra-civilizacionais (com perdão do neologismo). Por um bom tempo fui adepto das análises em rede, por isso, por saber que idéias, causas e conceitos viajam entre civilizações e mais criam grupos de opinião transnacionais.

Isso quer dizer que há mais no terrorismo que a dicotomia ocidente e oriente, entre cristandade e islã. Há forças internas nessas civilizações disputando o controle de seus caminhos e essas forças produzem idéias, argumentos e ideologias que passam de uma civilização para outra. Existe, também, a componente econômica que afeta a vida dos indivíduos. E a busca por uma vida melhor e com mais significado está no cerne da lutas entre manutenção hermética de uma cultura (o que por óbvio só pode ser feito a força) e as forças de modificação cultural e os imigrantes mostram bem essa tensão interna no seio das culturas e civilizações. Um exemplo dramático dessa dinâmica é a revolução iraniana.

E no sentido de olhar além do ‘Choque de Civilizações’ transcrevo abaixo um provocativo texto do professor Jay Ogilvy, publicado no Stratfor. Espero que desperta tanta inquietação em vocês como fez em mim.

Mind the Gap

By Jay Ogilvy

The Charlie Hebdo attack and its aftermath in the streets and in the press tempt one to dust off Samuel Huntington's 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Despite the criticisms he provoked with that book and his earlier 1993 article in Foreign Affairs, recent events would seem to be proving him prescient.

Or was he?

While I am not about to deny the importance of religion and culture as drivers of geopolitical dynamics, I will argue that, more important than the clashes among the great civilizations, there is a clash within each of the great civilizations. This is the clash between those who have "made it" (in a sense yet to be defined) and those who have been "left behind" — a phrase that is rich with ironic resonance.

Before I make my argument, I warn that the point I'm trying to make is fairly subtle. So, in the interest of clarity, let me lay out what I'm not saying before I make that point. I am not saying that Islam as a whole is somehow retrograde. I am not agreeing with author Sam Harris' October 2014 remark on "Real Time with Bill Maher" that "Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas." Nor am I saying that all religions are somehow equal, or that culture is unimportant. The essays in the book Culture Matters, which Huntington helped edit, argue that different cultures have different comparative advantages when it comes to economic competitiveness. These essays build on the foundation laid down by Max Weber's 1905 work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It is only the "sulfuric odor of race," as Harvard historian David Landes writes on the first page of the first essay in Culture Matters, that has kept scholars from exploring the under-researched linkages between culture and economic performance.

Making It in the Modern World

The issue of the comparative advantages or disadvantages of different cultures is complicated and getting more so because with modernity and globalization, our lives are getting more complicated. We are all in each other's faces today in a way that was simply not the case in earlier centuries. Whether through travel or telecommunications or increasingly ubiquitous and inexpensive media, each and every one of us is more aware of the cultural other than in times past. This is obvious. What is not so obvious are the social and psychological consequences of the inevitable comparisons this awareness invites us to make: How are we measuring up, as individuals and as civilizations?

In the modern world, the development of the individual human, which is tied in part to culture, has become more and more important. If you think of a single human life as a kind of footrace — as if the developmental path from infancy to maturity were spanning a certain distance — then progress over the last several millennia has moved out the goal posts of maturity. It simply takes longer to learn the skills it takes to "make it" as an adult. Surely there were skills our Stone Age ancestors had to acquire that we moderns lack, but they did not have to file income taxes or shop for insurance. Postmodern thinkers have critiqued the idea of progress and perhaps we do need a concept that is forgivingly pluralistic. Still, there have been indisputable improvements in many basic measures of human progress. This is borne out by improved demographic statistics such as birth weight, height and longevity, as well as declining poverty and illiteracy. To put it very simply, we humans have come a long way.

But these historic achievements have come at a price. It is not simple for individuals to master this elaborate structure we call modern civilization with its buildings and institutions and culture and history and science and law. A child can't do it. Babies born into this world are biologically very similar to babies born 10,000 years ago; biological evolution is simply too slow and cannot equip us to manage this structure. And childhood has gotten ever longer. "Neoteny" is the technical term for the prolongation of the period during which an offspring remains dependent on its parent. In some species, such as fish or spiders, newborns can fend for themselves immediately. In other species — ducks, deer, dogs and cats — the young remain dependent on their mothers for a period of weeks. In humans, the period of dependency extends for years. And as the generations and centuries pass, especially recently, that period of dependency keeps getting longer.

As French historian Philippe Aries informed us in Centuries of Childhood, "in medieval society, the idea of childhood did not exist." Prior to modernity, young people were adults in miniature, trying to fit in wherever they could. But then childhood got invented. Child labor laws kept children out of the factories and truancy laws kept them in public schools. For a recent example of the statutory extension of childhood known as neoteny, consider U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement that he intends to make community college available for free to any high school graduate, thus extending studenthood by two years.

The care and feeding and training of your average human cub have become far greater than the single season that bear cubs require. And it seems to be getting ever longer as more 20-somethings and even 30-somethings find it cheaper to live with mom and dad, whether or not they are enrolled in school or college. The curriculum required to flourish as an adult seems to be getting ever longer, the goal posts of meaningful maturity ever further away from the "starting line," which has not moved. Our biology has not changed at anywhere near the rate of our history. And this growing gap between infancy and modern maturity is true for every civilization, not just Islamic civilization.paradox_of_left_behind

The picture gets complicated, though, because the vexed history of the relationships among the world's great civilizations leaves little doubt about different levels of development along any number of different scales of achievement. Christian democracies have outperformed the economies and cultures of the rest of the world. Is this an accident? Or is there something in the cultural software of the West that renders it better able to serve the needs of its people than does the cultural software called Islam?

Those Left Behind

Clearly there is a feeling among many in the Islamic world that they, as a civilization, have been "left behind" by history. Consider this passage from Snow, the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk:

"We're poor and insignificant," said Fazul, with a strange fury in his voice. "Our wretched lives have no place in human history. One day all of us living now in Kars will be dead and gone. No one will remember us; no one will care what happened to us. We'll spend the rest of our days arguing about what sort of scarf women should wrap around their heads, and no one will care in the slightest because we're eaten up by our own petty, idiotic quarrels. When I see so many people around me leading such stupid lives and then vanishing without a trace, an anger runs through me…"

Earlier I mentioned the ironic resonance of this phrase, "left behind." I think of two other recent uses: first, the education reform legislation in the United States known as the No Child Left Behind Act; the second, the best-selling series of 13 novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in which true believers are taken up by the Rapture while the sinners are "left behind." In both of these uses, it is clearly a bad thing to be left behind.

This growing divide between those who have made it and those who are being left behind is happening globally, in each of the great civilizations, not just Islam. To quote my fellow Stratfor columnist, Ian Morris, from just last week:

Culture is something we can change in response to circumstances rather than waiting, as other animals must, for our genes to evolve under the pressures of natural selection. As a result, though we are still basically the same animals that we were when we invented agriculture at the end of the ice age, our societies have evolved faster and faster and will continue to do so at an ever-increasing rate in the 21st century.

And because the fundamental dynamics of this divide are rooted in the mismatch between the pace of change of biological evolution on the one hand (very slow) and historical or technological change on the other (ever faster), it is hard to see how this gap can be closed. We don't want to stop progress, and yet the more progress we make, the further out the goal posts of modern maturity recede and the more significant culture becomes.

There is a link between the "left behind" phenomenon and the rise of the ultra-right in Europe. As the number of unemployed, disaffected, hopeless youth grows, so also does the appeal of extremist rhetoric — to both sides. On the Muslim side, more talk from the Islamic State about slaying the infidels. On the ultra-right, more talk about Islamic extremists. Like a crowded restaurant, the louder the voices get, the louder the voices get.

I use this expression, those who have "made it," because the gap in question is not simply between the rich and the poor. Accomplished intellectuals such as Pamuk feel it as well. The writer Pankaj Mishra, born in Uttar Pradesh, India, in 1969, is another rising star from the East who writes about the dilemma of Asian intellectuals, the Hobson's choice they face between recoiling into the embrace of their ancient cultures or adopting Western ways precisely to gain the strength to resist the West. This is their paradox: Either accept the Trojan horse of Western culture to master its "secrets" — technology, organization, bureaucracy and the power that accrues to a nation-state — or accept the role of underpaid extras in a movie, a very partial "universal" history, that stars the West. In my next column, I'll explore more of Mishra's insights from several of his books.

"Mind the Gap is republished with permission of Stratfor."
Leia Mais

Oportunidade: Curso de extensão em gestão de cooperação internacional, PUC-GO

rafaelbrasasUma excelente oportunidade para os interessados em saber mais sobre a gestão da cooperação internacional que é o curso de extensão: “Fundamentos da Cooperação Internacional Descentralizada”. O curso é capitaneado e idealizado pelo meu amigo e companheiro de vários empreendimentos profissionais, Rafael Duarte. Que é além de professor generoso, uma pessoa com bastante experiência prática nesse assunto.

Abaixo transcrevo as informações disponíveis no site da PUC-GO.

FUNDAMENTOS DE GESTÃO DA COOPERAÇÃO INTERNACIONAL DESCENTRALIZADA

Professor:

Rafael Pinto Duarte

Graduação: Bacharel em Relações Internacionais

Pós- Graduação:  Mestre em Desenvolvimento Sustentável

Objetivos Geral:

Proporcionar aos estudantes e egressos de Relações Internacionais da PUC-GO o aperfeiçoamento profissional na área de cooperação internacional.

Objetivos específicos:

- Analisar as oportunidades da cooperação internacional como atividade profissional das Relações Internacionais

- Discutir as oportunidades da cooperação internacional descentralizada para o desenvolvimento da região de Goiânia;

- Simular atividades de elaboração e gestão de projetos por resultados.

Conteúdo Programático:

- Fundamentos da Cooperação Internacional

para o Desenvolvimento

- Tipologia da Cooperação Internacional

- O Sistema de Cooperação Internacional:

Do pós-guerra ao século XXI

- Os desafios do Desenvolvimento Internacional:

Economia, Saúde, Meio Ambiente e Direitos Humanos

- Introdução à gestão de Projetos por Resultados

- Laboratório de elaboração e avaliação de projetos

- Avaliação e encerramento

  Metodologia:

  A metodologia do curso segue os princípios da Andragogia ou educação para adultos, criada por Malcolm Knowles na década de 1970 e amplamente utilizado pela Escola Nacional de Administração Pública. Seus princípios são necessidade de saber, autoconceito do aprendiz, papel das experiências, prontidão para aprender, orientação para aprendizagem e motivação.

  A base de aprendizagem será a articulação entre o conteúdo estudado nas disciplinas regulares do curso e os elementos adicionais apresentados por esta proposta de extensão. A simulação de atividades profissionais em Cooperação Internacional seguirá o modelo 70:20:10 de aprendizagem e aperfeiçoamento profissional apresentado por ichael M. Lombardo e Robert W. Eichinger em 1996 . Segundo o modelo, o aprendizado humano no mundo corporativo se divide em 3 bases: 70% provenientes da própria experiência, 20% vêm do relacionamento interpessoal e 10% são derivados da educação formal.

   Em síntese, os trabalhos em sala de aula serão orientados por perguntas e não pela simples entrega do conteúdo. O conhecimento será construído pelo grupo a partir da aliança entre conceitos e práticas experimentais, fazendo com que o trabalho dos professores seja o de facilitadores do aprendizado.

Público-Alvo: Acadêmicos e profissionais de Relações Internacionais, Contabilidade, Administração Economia e interessados.

Carga Horária: 20 horas

Vagas: 15

Local:

Horário: sábado das   9h às 15h

Cronograma: Programado para 2015/1

Investimento: R$ 326,70  (à vista) e R$ 363,00  (Parcelado)

Lembre-se de solicitar no caixa do banco o desconto de 10% para pagamento à vista.

Matrículas até: Prevista para fevereiro/2015

Área do Conhecimento: Relações Internacionais, Bilaterais e Multilaterais

Leia Mais

Stratfor: Red Alert: Rocket Fire Could Signal New Offensive on Mariupol

ukraine-mariupol_0Analysis

Reports of heavy rocket artillery firing on the eastern parts of the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, as well as a statement made by a separatist leader, indicate the potential preparation of an offensive on the city. While this would be a significant escalation and an indicator of Russian intent to push further into Ukraine, potentially forming a much-rumored land connection to the northern border of Crimea, there are also several indicators required for such an offensive that are currently still missing.

Reports of heavy rocket artillery firing on the eastern parts of the city of Mariupol have been widely reported, with the death toll rising to 27 people. Mariupol has been shelled in the past, notably in early September, but as the cease-fire took affect separatist forces generally conducted attacks only outside of the city. It is not clear whether this is simply an intensification of relatively static fighting along the front between Russian and pro-Russian forces on the one side, and Ukrainians, or the beginning of a Russian-led offensive to widen the pocket, or the opening move in a broader strategic offensive to link up with Crimea, 200 miles to the west of the pocket.

The widespread use of Grad Multiple Launch Rocket Systems indicates that this is a planned action with significant logistical support that it involves extensive use of Russian troops, though Grad fire has been widely used throughout the conflict. There have been indications that Russian forces, including Russian Marines, have moved into the eastern Ukraine pocket controlled by pro-Russian forces, giving the Russians offensive options. Heavy artillery preparations frequently precede Russian attacks, particularly by concentrated MLRS attack. Given the amount of munitions needed to supply concentrated fire, the Russians tend not to use them casually. The presence of Grad missiles indicates the possibility of artillery preparation for a broader offensive.

The attack comes days after the Russian forces secured the Donetsk Airport, important in defending the right flank of any offensive westward. It also comes days after Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, came to Ukraine and publicly announced that a small number of U.S. Army trainers would be arriving in Ukraine. While any large-scale offensive would have been considered and planned for much longer, the decision of the United States to send Lt. Gen. Hodges could have affected the dynamic of internal Russian calculations.ukraine_ceasefire (1)

In any event, we do not yet know Russia’s strategic intentions. This could simply be an attempt to signal the danger Russia could pose to their negotiating partners in the west. It could be an attempt to extend the pocket they hold modestly. It could, finally, be the opening of an offensive toward Crimea.

The Russian position in Crimea is untenable. Crimea is easily isolated should Ukranian forces strengthen or Western forces get involved. Russia holds Crimea only to the extent that the West chooses not to intervene, or to the extent that it extends a relatively wide and robustly defended land bridge from Russia to the Crimea. Crimea and the Sevastapol naval facilities are of strategic importance to Russia and the decision to hold these facilities but not extend their power makes diplomatic sense, though it is not militarily rational. Either Russia can build the geographical structure to support Crimea, or it becomes a permanent weak point in the Russian position. The Russians do not want a massive confrontation with the West at a time of economic dysfunction, yet at the same time, having made the decision to hold Crimea, they will not have a better moment for consolidation.

This is an ongoing conversation in Moscow. It is not clear that it is over. The artillery may simply be a minor probe or it could be the preface to an assault. We know that there has been a significant increase in Russian presence in the pocket, but it does not seem to us that the Russians are logistically ready for a major offensive yet.

Taking Mariupol is a first step to a broader offensive. It is also an end in itself, anchoring the southern flank in the city, though may not even be that. However, the MLRS barrages on Mariupol open the door to multiple avenues of exploitation and have clearly moved the fighting to a new level, not so much in intensity, but in raising serious questions of strategic intention.

"Red Alert: Rocket Fire Could Signal New Offensive on Mariupol is republished with permission of Stratfor."
Leia Mais

Migração Cuba e EUA: Uma breve resposta.

obama-castroNão gosto de escrever para rebater o que outros escrevem, não sou ombudsman de ninguém e nem gosto da polêmica como mecanismo de aumento de audiência, mas vez ou outra lemos algo que não conseguimos não escrever sobre. E o que me motivou foi um texto do blog Outrofobia. O texto curtinho afirma em tom sério que a culpa pelos cubanos se lançarem ao mar é da política americana de garantir a permanência de quem conseguir chegar a sua costa. O autor chama essa política de asilo automático de política imigratória de “canalha & assassina” por que estimularia populações pobres a buscarem a vida nos Estados Unidos.

Claro, como a nota é curta o autor fez um link para um texto de uma revista cubana que alonga a lógica que motivou a nota, que é um desdobramento dos velhos argumentos sobre a pobreza cubana ser fruto do embargo dos EUA e o estimulo a emigração dado pela lei seria uma ferramenta na guerra propagandista.

Ninguém fala na vontade dos indivíduos de progredirem materialmente em outro país ou de poder viver num lugar que sua vida não seja regida por um regime totalitário. É claro que os balseiros se arriscam muito e isso nos mostra que os motivos de sua saída são fortes e não seria uma lei mais draconiana por parte dos EUA que os dissuadiria de emigrar, basta ver os riscos que emigrantes latinos, sobretudo mexicanos correm para atravessar a desértica fronteira entre EUA e México, tudo isso pela chance de construir uma vida melhor.

A receita é simples (e mesmo assim não podia ser mais complexa) você quer evitar que seus cidadãos emigrem em números relevantes, promova o crescimento econômico e a oferta de empregos, facilidades pra empreender, ou seja, melhore o que se chama de ambiente de negócios.

Mas, é tão mais fácil colocar a culpa no outro, na política migratória, do que explorar a miríade de motivações individuais que criam um fluxo migratório. O discurso de demonizar essa espécie de fronteiras abertas é ignorar a luta de diversas organizações humanitárias que defendem fronteiras mais abertas e mais dignidade para os migrantes.

Ao ler esse texto e sua romântica e ineficaz defesa do mito cubano diante da realidade da fuga de milhares de cidadãos foi inevitável lembrar de um trecho de uma velha canção de música sertaneja/romântica: “Vou negando as aparências, disfarçando as evidências”.

Leia Mais

Charlie Hebdo: Algumas impressões sobre o cenário político e os desafios do combate ao terror

lideresO ataque ao Charlie Hebdo, no coração de uma grande capital europeia e um dos maiores destinos turísticos do mundo teve grande repercussão, como era previsível. A ampla cobertura dos meios de comunicação acabou por ensejar um acalorado debate sobre a natureza desse tipo de ataque terrorista, suas causas e o que falhou na tentativa de impedir a radicalização desses jovens. Uma boa parte do debate se deu em torno de ser ou não ser Charlie, ou seja, sobre os limites (se existirem) da liberdade de expressão, esse debate é sedutor, mas também um tanto fora do ponto.

Meu bom amigo e tremendo analista Márcio Coimbra encontrou um ângulo bem interessante pra analisar os caminhos da Europa diante de reiterados ataques terroristas, do qual reproduzo alguns trechos abaixo:

“Os desdobramentos dos atentados em Paris ocorrerão em breve em meio a movimentos políticos. A Europa já fala em endurecer leis antiterror, controle de viajantes e de imigrantes. Se tudo correr neste sentido, veremos um enfraquecimento das premissas do concerto europeu, que possui na livre circulação um de seus pilares mais importantes. Partidos que defendem posições mais radicais, nacionalistas e isolacionistas, tendem a crescer nas próximas eleições, seja pelo caminho da direita ou da esquerda. E aqui está o equívoco que pode se agravar: os erros das políticas públicas do passado pavimentaram as consequências graves que vivemos e sugerem soluções equivocadas para o futuro.

A Europa como conhecemos é um retrato de políticas de bem estar social implementadas após a Segunda Guerra Mundial. Estes movimentos tiveram o intuito de reconstruir e trazer paz a um continente devastado pelo conflito. A construção da União Européia, integrando as economias, as políticas, o comércio, liberando a circulação de pessoas, tinha como objetivo alcançar uma aproximação entre as diferentes nações e culturas, evitando assim o surgimento de nacionalismos radicais e tendências expansionistas, responsáveis pelas guerras vividas pelo continente.

Entretanto, a Europa cometeu um grande erro: a manutenção do estado de bem estar social diante de uma crescente onda de imigração. Os benefícios sociais europeus, quando concedidos aos imigrantes, evitam com que estes se integrem em sua nova sociedade, favorecendo a criação de guetos. O Brasil, exemplo mais bem acabado de integração imigratória no mundo, soube fazer com que seus imigrantes se tornassem brasileiros mediante a ausência de mecanismos de bem estar social, assim como ocorreu nos Estados Unidos. Os imigrantes, tanto no norte, quanto no sul da América, tornaram-se empreendedores, deslocaram-se pelo território nacional em busca de emprego, e assim passaram a fazer parte da nova nação que escolheram para si.

O que a Europa precisa neste momento é de mais liberdade, ao contrário das primeiras soluções anunciadas. Não é preciso restringir a imigração, mas simplesmente terminar com as políticas paternalistas que evitam com que os imigrantes se integrem em suas sociedades. Hoje, os atentados já são cometidos por cidadãos nacionais, filhos de imigrantes, mas nascidos e criados na Europa, entretanto, incapazes de internalizarem os costumes, hábitos e cultura de seu novo país.”

Esse não é o ponto mais popular, afinal estamos acostumados a chamar a rede de proteção social de direito e retirar direitos tem peso político enorme. Aliás, a Europa parece caminhar pela via da restrição a imigração e dificultar a circulação de pessoas. As manobras políticas para isso já estão em curso como nos mostra o Francisco Seixas da Costa desde sua ótica de ex-diplomata português:

“A França sempre deixou claro que tinha "une certaine idée de l'Europe". Hoje, em Paris, à margem da manifestação contra o terrorismo, o ministro francês do Interior convocou uma reunião com colegas europeus. No final, com pompa e circunstância, foi anunciada a disposição de avançar para medidas de reforço dos controlos no espaço europeu, por forma a evitar eventos como os que agora tanto preocupam as pessoas.

Quem eram os países representados na reunião de Paris? Apenas os "grandes" e alguns que se esforçam por parecer sê-lo. A senhora ministra da Administração Interna portuguesa foi convidada? Não creio. Manifestou o seu desagrado? Estamos ainda para saber, mas eu apostaria dobrado contra singelo em como não o fez. A lógica do "diretório" é hoje aceite sob o silêncio de Lisboa.

Esta é a Europa que alguns andam a "construir".”

Aqui temos o grande desafio dos líderes europeus que devem responder aos anseios por medidas concretas de segurança de seus eleitores e assim evitar que os partidos de extrema-esquerda e extrema-direita explorem o imobilismo para aumentar sua influência e ao mesmo tempo preservar algum tipo de equilíbrio nas decisões continentais que não aliene os estados menores e fortemente antingidos pela crise econômica iniciada em 2008. E para complicar mais um pouquinho é preciso agir urgentemente na prevenção da radicalização, que tem um discurso sedutor nos guetos que nos fala Márcio Coimbra, mas não só lá como no sistema prisional, também.

A manifestação de ontem em Paris, nos mostra que ainda há apoio massivo aos ideais democráticos de liberdades civis e individuais tão desprezadas pelas almas totalitárias sejam muçulmanas, cristãs ou ateias. E em meio a tanto sangue e desentendimento é uma notícia sensacional. Mas, continua a Europa numa encruzilhada de caminhos difíceis e não consigo me livrar do sentimento que temos ‘Neville Chamberlain’s’ demais e Churchill’s de menos.

Leia Mais

Notas parisienses por Francisco Seixas da Costa

cartoon3_3157431cFrancisco Seixas da Costa nos brinda com uma análise sóbria sobre o ataque terrorista, de ontem, em Paris. Vários elementos que ele aborda estão presentes em minhas próprias análises aqui publicadas. Abaixo o texto, copiado com autorização do autor, cujo original pode ser lido aqui.

Notas parisienses

Por Francisco Seixas da Costa

1. Nunca fui um leitor regular do "Charlie Hebdo", mas reconheço a genialidade do seu traço e, embora nem sempre concordando com a crueldade crítica que utilizava, quero afirmar que felizes são os países onde pode publicar-se um jornal deste tipo. Em Portugal, um "Charlie Hebdo" não seria aniquilado pelas balas do terrorismo, mas por uma imensidão de processos judiciais e perseguições de outra ordem. Ter um "Charlie Hebdo", como ter um "Canard Enchainé" ou um "Private Eye" no Reino Unido, glorifica um país em matéria de liberdade de imprensa. Ver desaparecer Wolinski (cuja "especialidade" nem sequer eram, a meu ver, os cartoons políticos) é assistir à saída de cena de alguém que faz parte da memória da minha geração. Hoje é um dia triste.

2. Como o meu colega e sucessor em Paris, José Filipe Moraes Cabral, há horas sublinhou nas televisões, o corajoso papel assumido pela França (e praticamente por mais ninguém) na luta anti-terrorista no Sahel, bem como a sua aberta cooperação no combate ao "Estado Islâmico", expõe mais o país a retaliações desta natureza. É o preço da responsabilidade demonstrada por um grande Estado. Qualquer que seja a avaliação que se faça da política interna de Hollande, há que elogiar o seu forte empenhamento em matéria de segurança, demonstrado à escala global, não obstante as fortes condicionantes orçamentais que o país atualmente sofre. 

3. A França é um país que tem anterior experiência de atentados terroristas com origem no islamismo radical, embora nenhum deles com esta expressão quantitativa em matéria de vítimas. Porém, no passado, a esmagadora maioria dos atentados que ocorreram em França foi cometida por cidadãos estrangeiros. Ao que tudo indica, o atentado de ontem terá sido levado a cabo por franceses, nascidos no seu solo, filhos de imigrantes. Tal como o Reino Unido experimentou em 2005, a sociedade francesa gerou já, dentro de si, os germes da violência radical islâmica, aliás percetível no elevado número de "jihadistas" gauleses (soa mal, não soa?) que estão já nas fileiras do "Estado Islâmico". Combater decididamente essa deriva é um imperativo, desconstruir as razões desta apetência para o radicalismo limite é uma necessidade.

4. O Islão é uma religião que sofre hoje uma forte diabolização (é irónico chamar o diabo a esta questão), um pouco por todo o lado, embora as pessoas tendam a esquecer que os cidadãos muçulmanos são, nos dias que correm, as principais vítimas das suas expressões mais sectárias. Da Indonésia ao Paquistão, do Quénia à Síria ou ao Iraque, muitos milhares de muçulmanos perderam ou perdem, dia após dia, a vida em atentados bem mais mortíferos que o que ontem abalou a França. Por essa razão, continua a ser estranho que as comunidades islâmicas moderadas não ergam mais a sua voz contra este tipo de facínoras que agem invocando os princípios corânicos. O que vemos é uma distanciação mole, um "não, mas", de quem parece intimidado e temeroso, embora longe de ser deliberado cúmplice. As figuras responsáveis entre esses muçulmanos, que são uma esmagadora maioria, talvez não se estejam a dar conta que, com a sua tibieza, se arriscam, um destes dias, a ficar na linha da frente de uma guerra religiosa que os não poupará. Curiosamente, na Europa, as comunidades muçulmanas reagem face ao radicais no seu seio como as monarquias do Golfo fizeram quanto ao Al Qeda. Ora a pusilanimidade só leva à tragédia, como a história prova.  

5. Contrariamente aos apelos exteriores que se ouviram, a sensação que tenho é de que a moldura legislativa francesa, para o combate à violência sectária e ao radicalismo que chega ao terrorismo, é já suficientemente sólida. Além disso, a França dispõe de uma rede de "intelligence" muito eficaz, que sempre poderá ser melhorada, mas que, tal como em qualquer outro país, não pode garantir nunca, em absoluto, uma prevenção total contra atos terroristas. O terrorismo dispõe da iniciativa e da capacidade de gerar surpresa. Pode-se limitar estatisticamente o desenvolvimento das suas redes, mas é impossível prevenir, em absoluto, que um atentado ocorra.

6. O ato terrorista de ontem vai deixar marcas na política francesa. Mais do que para Hollande, é para o primeiro-ministro Manuel Valls que os olhares da França se voltarão nos próximos dias. Valls, que foi presidente de um município onde a convivência multicultural era uma das grandes questões (tendo, aliás, sido sucedido no cargo por um luso-descendente), mostrou, como ministro do Interior, um perfil securitário contrastante com o discurso mais contemporizador que o PSF costumava assumir nestes temas. A França vai-lhe exigir, não palavras, mas resultados concretos no esclarecimento rápido deste caso. De toda a forma, será sempre a direita política, da mais democrática à mais radical, quem irá ganhar com este episódio. Há uma grande inquietação em toda a França, uma preocupação evidente pela crescente afirmação comunitarista do islamismo, que induz tensões surdas na sociedade e, com alguma naturalidade, cria reflexos anti-imigração. Daqui a um discurso racista e xenófobo é um curto passo que muitos franceses já deram. Se, em termos de eleições legislativas ou presidenciais futuras, isso vier a ter uma expressão flagrante e maioritária, ficará mais evidente que o problema deixou já de ser só francês.

Leia Mais

Charlie Hebdo: Mais um ataque terrorista numa grande cidade ocidental

Hoje, em Paris, um grupo, presumidamente, de três terroristas invadiu a sede da revista francesa Charlie Hebdo, conhecida pelo tom ácido de suas reportagens satíricas e assassinou (até agora) 12 pessoas. Após, esse ato de carnificina os terroristas conseguiram fugir do local.

O combate ao extremismo é complexo do ponto de vista legal e operacional, nem sempre a inteligência consegue coadunar as informações para prevenir esses atentados, além disso as grandes cidades com suas dificuldades de mobilidade dificultam muito o emprego de forças policiais de resposta rápida com treinamento e equipamentos suficientes para deter rapidamente terroristas.

O ataque de hoje foi cruel e voltado para cercear a liberdade de expressão e de imprensa que sempre ojerizam os candidatos a autocratas e totalitários.

Não há muita informação ainda sobre o ataque além da conduta militarizada dos terroristas o que denotaria algum treinamento prévio e a escolha do dia e horário do ataque durante uma reunião de pauta da revista, e talvez não seja o momento para analisar e sim para lamentar que as ideias autoritárias e homicidas ainda sejam tão atraentes para a humanidade. Combater o extremismo cada vez mais parece que será a marca desse século.

O governo brasileiro reagiu com firmeza na linguagem da nota oficial, algo raro nesses anos da administração Rousseff. (leia aqui)

Deixo vocês com essa charge à guisa de uma precária conclusão desse texto.

newyorkercartoon

Leia Mais

A hora de Cuba? Por Francisco Seixas da Costa

CubaSempre que o assunto é Cuba, os ânimos se exaltam e o risco de cegueira ideológica é enorme, aliás, tenho uma posição de que o lugar de Cuba no discurso político brasileiro é desproporcional a importância e influência desse país insular. A grande notícia de ontem foi o anúncio da retomada de relações diplomáticas entre EUA e Cuba. É um passo importante, sem dúvidas, para o fim do embargo iniciado na infame Crise dos Mísseis.

Cuba é uma ditadura protegida pela aura romântica nutrida pelo arrebatamento utópico da esquerda latina, tanto é que o apoio de Fidel a ditadura de Videla (que mostra pragmatismo que os apaixonados defensores se recusam a ter, por sinal) na Argentina é esquecido ou simplesmente desconhecido. Esse lugar exagerado de Cuba dificulta sobremaneira uma abordagem do tema de uma maneira equilibrada e desapaixonada. Eu mesmo capitulo diante dessa dificuldade, assim eu trago um bom texto do ex-embaixador português no Brasil e em França (como ele escreveria) Francisco Seixas da Costa. É claro, ainda não é uma análise aprofundada é um instantâneo do momento, calcado em anos de estudo e experiência, mas um instantâneo. (O texto é transcrito com autorização do autor e o original pode ser lido aqui)

A hora de Cuba?

Por Francisco Seixas da Costa

O anúncio de um início de reaproximação entre Cuba e os Estados Unidos é um interessante sinal de distensão entre dois países cujo conflito é uma das mais duradouras heranças da Guerra Fria.

Washington nunca aceitou o derrube da sinistra ditadura de Baptista, um títere que se mantinha na lógica da "doutrina Monroe" e que havia transformado a ilha num prostíbulo e num casino, dando um sólido argumento para a revolta titulada por Fidel de Castro. Os refugiados cubanos nos Estados Unidos condicionaram, a partir daí, a atitude americana, tornando a normalização das relações dependente de um "regime change" que nunca veio a verificar-se.

Castro e os seus guerrilheiros, saídos da Sierra Maestra depois de uma saga político-militar que entusiasmou o romantismo de uma certa esquerda à escala global, cometeram o grave erro de reagir às recorrentes provocações americanas através de uma crescente dependência da União Soviética. A aventura da colocação de mísseis russos na ilha, em 1962, levou a um embargo americano que ainda hoje se mantém.

De regime libertador, a Cuba de Castro transformou-se num "exportador" de revoluções pelo mundo, aliás sem grande sucesso. Os "dois, três, muitos Vietnam" da retórica de Che Guevara (que, se fosse vivo, teria visto naquilo que o Vietnam se transformou) acabou por ser um imenso fracasso. Pressentido como executor de um "ousourcing" ditado por Moscovo, que durante décadas pagou as faturas de uma economia abafada pelo embargo, o regime de Fidel de Castro, que identificava a menor dissidência interna com uma traição pró-yankee, acabou por se converter num dos atores centrais da Guerra Fria.

No plano interno, Cuba é uma ditadura intolerante e repressiva. Jogou sempre com o sentimento de anti-americanismo como fator atenuador da leitura que o mundo podia fazer das condições em que o seu povo vive, passando as culpas do regime para as consequências do embargo - de facto, uma medida datada e sem sentido, unilateralmente imposta por Washington e que, bem vistas as coisas, acabou por facilitar fortemente o prolongamento do regime castrista. Cuba é hoje uma sociedade triste, vivendo numa penúria imensamente injusta para a felicidade possível das gerações que sofreram a sua tragédia geopolítica.

Muita água correrá ainda sob as pontes até que as coisas se normalizem entre Washington e Havana. Dos dois lados, os obstáculos à reconciliação são muito grandes e são expectáveis acidentes de percurso. De qualquer forma, a iniciativa papal que levou a este início de diálogo só pode ser saudada.

Leia Mais

STRATFOR: A Tortura e a falha da Inteligência Americana

torturaA revelação do Relatório sobre a tortura, por parte do Congresso americano, além de causar reflexão diante dos métodos usados contra prisioneiros suspeitos de terrorista (e quem me lê sabe que não tenho nenhuma empatia com terroristas, uso sempre a expressão verme), nesse esteio o STRATFOR republica texto de 2009 que analisa o contexto psicológico que levou a autorização do uso extensivo da tortura e como os métodos brutais são falhos, em essência. É interessante a leitura por que o STRATFOR não é site de ativistas de Direitos Humanos e sim uma empresa com laços fortes com a comunidade de inteligência dos EUA.

Torture and the U.S. Intelligence Failure

By George Friedman

The Obama administration published a series of memoranda on torture issued under the Bush administration. The memoranda, most of which dated from the period after 9/11, authorized measures including depriving prisoners of solid food, having them stand shackled and in uncomfortable positions, leaving them in cold cells with inadequate clothing, slapping their heads and/or abdomens, and telling them that their families might be harmed if they didn't cooperate with their interrogators.

On the scale of human cruelty, these actions do not rise anywhere near the top. At the same time, anyone who thinks that being placed without food in a freezing cell subject to random mild beatings — all while being told that your family might be joining you — isn't agonizing clearly lacks imagination. The treatment of detainees could have been worse. It was terrible nonetheless.

Torture and the Intelligence Gap

But torture is meant to be terrible, and we must judge the torturer in the context of his own desperation. In the wake of 9/11, anyone who wasn't terrified was not in touch with reality. We know several people who now are quite blasé about 9/11. Unfortunately for them, we knew them in the months after, and they were not nearly as composed then as they are now.

Sept. 11 was terrifying for one main reason: We had little idea about al Qaeda's capabilities. It was a very reasonable assumption that other al Qaeda cells were operating in the United States and that any day might bring follow-on attacks. (Especially given the group's reputation for one-two attacks.) We still remember our first flight after 9/11, looking at our fellow passengers, planning what we would do if one of them moved. Every time a passenger visited the lavatory, one could see the tensions soar.

And while Sept. 11 was frightening enough, there were ample fears that al Qaeda had secured a "suitcase bomb" and that a nuclear attack on a major U.S. city could come at any moment. For individuals, such an attack was simply another possibility. We remember staying at a hotel in Washington close to the White House and realizing that we were at ground zero — and imagining what the next moment might be like. For the government, however, the problem was having scraps of intelligence indicating that al Qaeda might have a nuclear weapon, but not having any way of telling whether those scraps had any value. The president and vice president accordingly were continually kept at different locations, and not for any frivolous reason.

This lack of intelligence led directly to the most extreme fears, which in turn led to extreme measures. Washington simply did not know very much about al Qaeda and its capabilities and intentions in the United States. A lack of knowledge forces people to think of worst-case scenarios. In the absence of intelligence to the contrary after 9/11, the only reasonable assumption was that al Qaeda was planning more — and perhaps worse — attacks.

Collecting intelligence rapidly became the highest national priority. Given the genuine and reasonable fears, no action in pursuit of intelligence was out of the question, so long as it promised quick answers. This led to the authorization of torture, among other things. Torture offered a rapid means to accumulate intelligence, or at least — given the time lag on other means — it was something that had to be tried.

Torture and the Moral Question

And this raises the moral question. The United States is a moral project: its Declaration of Independence and Constitution state that. The president takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. The Constitution does not speak to the question of torture of non-citizens, but it implies an abhorrence of rights violations (at least for citizens). But the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase, "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind." This indicates that world opinion matters.

At the same time, the president is sworn to protect the Constitution. In practical terms, this means protecting the physical security of the United States "against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Protecting the principles of the declaration and the Constitution are meaningless without regime preservation and defending the nation.

While this all makes for an interesting seminar in political philosophy, presidents — and others who have taken the same oath — do not have the luxury of the contemplative life. They must act on their oaths, and inaction is an action. Former U.S. President George W. Bush knew that he did not know the threat, and that in order to carry out his oath, he needed very rapidly to find out the threat. He could not know that torture would work, but he clearly did not feel that he had the right to avoid it.

Consider this example. Assume you knew that a certain individual knew the location of a nuclear device planted in an American city. The device would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans, but the individual refused to divulge the information. Would anyone who had sworn the oath have the right not to torture the individual? Torture might or might not work, but either way, would it be moral to protect the individual's rights while allowing hundreds of thousands to die? It would seem that in this case, torture is a moral imperative; the rights of the one with the information cannot transcend the life of a city.

Torture in the Real World

But here is the problem: You would not find yourself in this situation. Knowing a bomb had been planted, knowing who knew that the bomb had been planted, and needing only to apply torture to extract this information is not how the real world works. Post-9/11, the United States knew much less about the extent of the threat from al Qaeda. This hypothetical sort of torture was not the issue.

Discrete information was not needed, but situational awareness. The United States did not know what it needed to know, it did not know who was of value and who wasn't, and it did not know how much time it had. Torture thus was not a precise solution to a specific problem: It became an intelligence-gathering technique. The nature of the problem the United States faced forced it into indiscriminate intelligence gathering. When you don't know what you need to know, you cast a wide net. And when torture is included in the mix, it is cast wide as well. In such a case, you know you will be following many false leads — and when you carry torture with you, you will be torturing people with little to tell you. Moreover, torture applied by anyone other than well-trained, experienced personnel (who are in exceptionally short supply) will only compound these problems, and make the practice less productive.

Defenders of torture frequently seem to believe that the person in custody is known to have valuable information, and that this information must be forced out of him. His possession of the information is proof of his guilt. The problem is that unless you have excellent intelligence to begin with, you will become engaged in developing baseline intelligence, and the person you are torturing may well know nothing at all. Torture thus becomes not only a waste of time and a violation of decency, it actually undermines good intelligence. After a while, scooping up suspects in a dragnet and trying to extract intelligence becomes a substitute for competent intelligence techniques — and can potentially blind the intelligence service. This is especially true as people will tell you what they think you want to hear to make torture stop.

Critics of torture, on the other hand, seem to assume the torture was brutality for the sake of brutality instead of a desperate attempt to get some clarity on what might well have been a catastrophic outcome. The critics also cannot know the extent to which the use of torture actually prevented follow-on attacks. They assume that to the extent that torture was useful, it was not essential; that there were other ways to find out what was needed. In the long run, they might have been correct. But neither they, nor anyone else, had the right to assume in late 2001 that there was a long run. One of the things that wasn't known was how much time there was.

The U.S. Intelligence Failure

The endless argument over torture, the posturing of both critics and defenders, misses the crucial point. The United States turned to torture because it has experienced a massive intelligence failure reaching back a decade. The U.S. intelligence community simply failed to gather sufficient information on al Qaeda's intentions, capability, organization and personnel. The use of torture was not part of a competent intelligence effort, but a response to a massive intelligence failure.

That failure was rooted in a range of miscalculations over time. There was the public belief that the end of the Cold War meant the United States didn't need a major intelligence effort, a point made by the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan. There were the intelligence people who regarded Afghanistan as old news. There was the Torricelli amendment that made recruiting people with ties to terrorist groups illegal without special approval. There were the Middle East experts who could not understand that al Qaeda was fundamentally different from anything seen before. The list of the guilty is endless, and ultimately includes the American people, who always seem to believe that the view of the world as a dangerous place is something made up by contractors and bureaucrats.

Bush was handed an impossible situation on Sept. 11, after just nine months in office. The country demanded protection, and given the intelligence shambles he inherited, he reacted about as well or badly as anyone else might have in the situation. He used the tools he had, and hoped they were good enough.

The problem with torture — as with other exceptional measures — is that it is useful, at best, in extraordinary situations. The problem with all such techniques in the hands of bureaucracies is that the extraordinary in due course becomes the routine, and torture as a desperate stopgap measure becomes a routine part of the intelligence interrogator's tool kit.

At a certain point, the emergency was over. U.S. intelligence had focused itself and had developed an increasingly coherent picture of al Qaeda, with the aid of allied Muslim intelligence agencies, and was able to start taking a toll on al Qaeda. The war had become routinized, and extraordinary measures were no longer essential. But the routinization of the extraordinary is the built-in danger of bureaucracy, and what began as a response to unprecedented dangers became part of the process. Bush had an opportunity to move beyond the emergency. He didn't.

If you know that an individual is loaded with information, torture can be a useful tool. But if you have so much intelligence that you already know enough to identify the individual is loaded with information, then you have come pretty close to winning the intelligence war. That's not when you use torture. That's when you simply point out to the prisoner that, "for you the war is over." You lay out all you already know and how much you know about him. That is as demoralizing as freezing in a cell — and helps your interrogators keep their balance.

U.S. President Barack Obama has handled this issue in the style to which we have become accustomed, and which is as practical a solution as possible. He has published the memos authorizing torture to make this entirely a Bush administration problem while refusing to prosecute anyone associated with torture, keeping the issue from becoming overly divisive. Good politics perhaps, but not something that deals with the fundamental question.

The fundamental question remains unanswered, and may remain unanswered. When a president takes an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," what are the limits on his obligation? We take the oath for granted. But it should be considered carefully by anyone entering this debate, particularly for presidents.

"Torture and the U.S. Intelligence Failure is republished with permission of Stratfor."
Leia Mais

STRATFOR: On Obama and the Nature of Failed Presidencies

obamabravo O Stratfor – famososo (ou infame) – site de análises estratégicas conhecido por focar na inteligência e temas de poder hoje fez uma dura análise da presidência Obama. Divirtam-se, em inglês como no original.

On Obama and the Nature of Failed Presidencies

By George Friedman

We do not normally comment on domestic political affairs unless they affect international affairs. However, it is necessary to consider American political affairs because they are likely to have a particular effect on international relations. We have now entered the final phase of Barack Obama's presidency, and like those of several other presidents since World War II, it is ending in what we call a state of failure. This is not a judgment on his presidency so much as on the political configuration within it and surrounding it.

The midterm elections are over, and Congress and the president are in gridlock. This in itself is not significant; presidents as popular as Dwight Eisenhower found themselves in this condition. The problem occurs when there is not only an institutional split but also a shift in underlying public opinion against the president. There are many more sophisticated analyses of public opinion on politics, but I have found it useful to use this predictive model.

Analyzing a President's Strength

I assume that underneath all of the churning, about 40 percent of the electorate is committed to each party. Twenty percent is uncommitted, with half of those being indifferent to the outcome of politics and the other half being genuinely interested and undecided. In most normal conditions, the real battle between the parties -- and by presidents -- is to hold their own bases and take as much of the center as possible.

So long as a president is fighting for the center, his ability to govern remains intact. Thus, it is normal for a president to have a popularity rating that is less than 60 percent but more than 40 percent. When a president's popularity rating falls substantially below 40 percent and remains there for an extended period of time, the dynamics of politics shift. The president is no longer battling for the center but is fighting to hold on to his own supporters -- and he is failing to do so.

When the president's support has fragmented to the point that he is fighting to recover his base, I considered that a failed presidency -- particularly when Congress is in the hands of the opposition. His energy cannot be directed toward new initiatives. It is directed toward recovering his base. And presidents who have fallen into this condition near the end of their presidencies have not been likely to recover and regain the center.

Historically, when the president's popularity rating has dipped to about 37 percent, his position has been unrecoverable. This is what happened to George W. Bush in 2006. It happened to Richard Nixon in 1974 when the Watergate crisis resulted in his resignation, and to Lyndon Johnson in 1967 during the Vietnam War. It also happened to Harry Truman in 1951, primarily because of the Korean War, and to Herbert Hoover before World War II because of the Great Depression.

However, this is not the final historical note on a presidency. Truman, enormously unpopular and unable to run for another term, is now widely regarded as one of the finest presidents the United States has had. Nixon, on the other hand, has never recovered. This is not therefore a judgment on Obama's place in history, but simply on his current political condition. Nor does it take failure to lose the presidency; Jimmy Carter was defeated even though his popularity remained well in the 40s.

Obama's Presidency

Of the five failed presidencies I've cited, one failed over scandal, one over the economy and three over wars -- Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Obama's case is less clear than any. The 40 percent who gravitated to the opposition opposed him for a host of reasons. He lost the center for complex reasons as well. However, looking at the timing of his decline, the only intruding event that might have had that impact was the rise of the Islamic State and a sense, even in his own party, that he did not have an effective response to it. Historically, extended wars that the president did not appear to have a strategy for fighting have been devastating to the presidency. Woodrow Wilson's war (World War I) was short and successful. Franklin Roosevelt's war (World War II) was longer, and although it began in failure it became clear that a successful end was conceivable. The Korean, Vietnam and two Iraq wars suffered not from the length, but from the sense that the presidency did not have a war-ending strategy. Obama appears to me to have fallen into the political abyss because after eight years he owned the war and appeared to have no grip on it.

Failure extends to domestic policy as well. The Republican-controlled legislature can pass whatever legislation it likes, but the president retains veto power, and two-thirds of both houses must vote to override. The problem is that given the president's lack of popularity -- and the fact that the presidency, all of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be up for re-election in two years -- the president's allies in Congress are not as willing to be held responsible for upholding his vetoes. Just as few Democrats wanted Obama campaigning for them, so too do few want to join the president in vetoing majority legislation. What broke Truman, Johnson and Nixon was the moment it became clear that their party's leaders in Congress wanted them gone.

Acting Within Constraints

This does not mean that the president can't act. It simply means that it is enormously more difficult to act than before. Gerald Ford, replacing Nixon but weakened by the pardoning of his predecessor, could not stop Congress from cutting off aid to South Vietnam during the final Communist assault. George W. Bush was able to launch the surge, but the surge was limited in size, not only because of strategic conditions but also because he had lost the ability to force Congress to fund alternative expansions of the war. In each of the failed presidencies, the president retained the ability to act but was constrained by the twin threats of an opposition-controlled Congress and his own party's unwillingness to align with him.

At the same time, certain foreign diplomatic initiatives can continue. Nixon initiated negotiations between Egypt and Israel that culminated, under Carter's administration, in the Camp David Accords. Truman tried to open negotiations with China, and the initiative's failure had little to do with opposition to a negotiated settlement in Korea.

The president has few domestic options. Whatever Obama does with his power domestically, Congress can vote to cut funding, and if the act is vetoed, the president puts Congressional Democrats in mortal danger. The place where he can act -- and this is likely the place Obama is least comfortable acting -- is in foreign policy. There, the limited deployment of troops and diplomatic initiatives are possible.

Obama's general strategy is to withdraw from existing conflicts in the Middle East and contain and limit Russian actions in Ukraine. The president has the ability to bring military and other pressure to bear. But the United States' opponent is aware that the sitting president is no longer in control of Washington, that he has a specific date of termination and that the more unpopular things he does, the more likely his successor is to repudiate them. Therefore, in the China-North Korea model, the assumption is that that continuing the conflict and negotiating with the successor president is rational. In the same sense, Iran chose to wait for the election of Ronald Reagan rather than deal with Jimmy Carter (who was not a failed president).

This model depends on the opponent's having the resources and the political will to continue the conflict in order to bargain with the president's successor, and assumes that the successor will be more malleable. This is frequently the result, since the successor can make concessions more readily than his predecessor. In fact, he can make those concessions and gain points by blaming the need to concede on his predecessor. Ironically, Obama used this strategy after replacing George W. Bush. The failed president frequently tries to entice negotiation by increasing the military pressure on the enemy. Truman, Johnson and George W. Bush all took this path while seeking to end their wars. In no case did it work, but they had little to lose politically by trying.

Therefore, if we follow historical patterns, Obama will now proceed slowly and ineffectively to increase military operations in Syria and Iraq, while raising non-military pressure on Russia, or potentially initiating some low-level military activities in Ukraine. The actions will be designed to achieve a rapid negotiating process that will not happen. The presidency will shift to the other party, as it did with Truman, Johnson and George W. Bush. Thus, if patterns hold true, the Republicans will retake the presidency. This is not a pattern unknown to Congress, which means that the Democrats in the legislature will focus on running their own campaigns as far away from Obama and the next Democratic presidential candidate as possible.

The period of a failed presidency is therefore not a quiet time. The president is actively trying to save his legacy in the face of enormous domestic weakness. Other countries, particularly adversaries, see little reason to make concessions to failed presidents, preferring to deal with the next president instead. These adversaries then use military and political oppositions abroad to help shape the next U.S. presidential campaign in directions that are in their interests.

It is against this backdrop that all domestic activities take place. The president retains the veto, and if the president is careful he will be able to sustain it. Obama will engage in limited domestic politics, under heavy pressure from Congressional Democrats, confining himself to one or two things. His major activity will be coping with Syria, Iraq and Russia, both because of crises and the desire for a legacy. The last two years of a failed presidency are mostly about foreign policy and are not very pleasant to watch.

"On Obama and the Nature of Failed Presidencies is republished with permission of Stratfor."

Leia Mais